Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Peacock Surroundings

Right around Thanksgiving, a lovely Instagram friend sent me a link to this gorgeous sweater. I am so thankful when people send me peacock items that I might have otherwise missed, as I am not really familiar with the store where this was purchased - Soft Surroundings. Thankful for all the holiday deals, I watched the site until I was happy enough with the price to order it. And then I knew it needed to be worn/photographed in a special location.
I've been frequenting The Palmer House hotel in Chicago a couple of times a year now for the past 10 years. You can read my first post about it here, which explains a lot of the history. Since discovering this gem of a place, I've been dedicated not only its history but the history of Chicago. I've watched a few documentaries, and read a few books, about the Palmers. Just imagining the city in the late 1800's and early 1900's, the influential business men, the World Fair, the mob, and serial killers is so intriguing. Pretty much every famous person during that time period performed here at The Empire Room!
This is the second year now that my Mom and I have gone for an overnight a few days after Christmas. Since we always bring the boys in mid-November for the start of the holiday season, it's....... exhausting to say the least. So it's nice to come to reward ourselves for all that we do for our families all year long. It might just become an annual thing now. The Palmer House truly feels like a second home to me! I always think about doing outfit photos in the city, but with the kids I am usually dressing for comfort and it would be too hard to focus on pictures while watching them.
So, back to the sweater - it truly is a well made statement piece with so many styling options. Per usual, I'll also be pairing it with jeans, over dresses, etc.....

 Verona Sweater Coat - Soft Surroundings
Black Leggings - Amazon
Sonoma Shell - Kohl's
Necklace - Anthropologie


Saturday, December 14, 2019

The Nutcracker

 What does one wear to The Nutcracker? Tulle, of course! We are going on a family date tonight to dinner and the show, so I thought I'd snap a few pics before it got too dark.
 This pleated maxi skirt has multi-color shiny dots on it as well, and was another great find at Steinmart a few weeks ago....... $39.99!!! That is a great price for a fancy skirt like this!
 I kept everything else really simple, and I decided to tie my shirt rather than tuck it for a little extra comfort!


Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Extra! Extra! The Silver Lining.


 A few weeks ago, I got the first flat tire I've had in about 20 years. That's a pretty good track record! Luckily, I was only a few miles from my house so I was not stranded and able to limp my car home to put the spare on. Unfortunately, the new tires I put on my car just about a year ago were discontinued. Since I did not want to put all new tires on my car again, my husband helped me find a comparable option and I was set to have the one replaced at a shop that Saturday. I have to admit, during this busy time of year I was not thrilled about going to a busy Ann Arbor shopping area on a Saturday. I try to do a lot of my shopping during the week - on my lunch hour or in the evenings - when it's not so busy. I set out that morning with my oldest son, and since the flat tire was already off my car it was nice not to have to wait while they put the new one on. We dropped it off and set out to hit up TJ Maxx and Steinmart - both locations I had been wanting to get to for a while, but never had a reason or time to get to. It ended up being such a pleasant day, which is the silver lining in an unexpected repair. The weather was great, the stores weren't too crowded, Richard & I had fun together, and lunched at McD's.
 I've been wanting a newspaper piece for quite some time now - maybe ever since Carrie Bradshaw's iconic Dior dress that was shown in the series and then reappeared in the second movie. I think every designer has done a newspaper print at some point.... this current season DVF and Moschino have it. But all those pieces are hundreds of dollars that I am not willing to spend. So imagine how excited I was to find this at Steinmart! Coming in at only $60, it is so well made and versatile! It zips up the front, has inside pulls to define the waist, and has pockets. I guess you'd call this a tulip hem, and it has some gathers on the sides. So of course I had to show a few different ways I've styled it so far. You can wear it open over all black!
 You can zip it up with some tights as a dress!
 And, if you want a little more definition besides the pullies (don't know what else to call them) or more accessorizing, you can belt it!
 Steinmart has several newspaper pieces on their site if it's a print you are interested in, but here is the link to this specific piece:
I wish my photo locations were more interesting..... I do like to have a variety of backdrops, but I have to take what I can get with the weather and daylight (which I complain about every year I've blogged)!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The 2 Walmart cardigans you need in your life.......

Some prints are just classic, and year after year we are seeing that with camo and leopard. Snakeskin is pretty popular right now too, but I haven't gotten into that one yet. I found both of these cardigans at Walmart, and once again I was so impressed with the quality and price! So easy to style in so many ways!
Even though I already had a leopard pullover sweater, I kind of wanted a cardigan. I looked at one at Kohl's and was not impressed by the quality. This Terra & Sky option has a smaller scale print, and as you can see I've already styled it with brown or black shoes, kick flare and straight black jeans, long necklace and choker.
Finding a camo cardigan that was just right (quality and color wise) took a while, and this No Boundaries option fit the bill! I've been loving olive with grey the past few years, so I love that there is grey in this one for more mixing options. The first time I wore it, I was very matchy matchy with olive pants/boots and grey shell. I also really like it thrown over your basic jeans and a white tee!

With both of these under $20, you just can't go wrong - not only for yourself, but for gifting too! Are you into these prints or do you feel like you see them too often? Are you into the snakeskin trend?

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Mom Sweater

The reason I am calling this "Mom Sweater" is because it is another gift from my Mom. She gave it to me in the early Spring, so the weather was not right to wear it. But now that it is cold again, it's perfect! The brand is V. Cristina, from her favorite store Steinmart. I've always thought V. Cristina stuff reminded me of Anthropologie, and this sweater is no exception!
It's thick texture is speckled with light grey, dark grey and white (so you could wear all three colors with it). I went with a dark grey shell and footwear here. You could also pull the pink or green from the flowers too. It has a hood and pockets. So cozy to throw on!
V. Cristina Sweater - Steinmart
High Waist Power Straight Jeans - Old Navy
Grey Shell - Anthropologie
dv Booties - Target



Friday, December 6, 2019

Multi Stripe Sparkle

 It's the busiest time of year, and I'm often looking for quick outfits to throw on. Heck, I've even been thankful it hasn't snowed lately (or been too cold) so that I could still take advantage of shoes with no socks!
 It's also the time of year that when I am gift shopping, I can't help but find things that I like too. I spotted this sweater at Kohl's and loved the color combo right away. There's a little sparkle to it, and I am loving that they brought the Nine West brand back (it's always been a good one). My favorite Kate Spade necklace was also a perfect match!
Kate Spade Necklace - TJ Maxx


Monday, December 2, 2019

November Reads

If there was a common theme in the books I read in November, it would be "thought provoking".
 
The Warehouse by: Rob Hart
Is it ironic that a book that is basically about Amazon can be bought on Amazon? This will be made into a movie and it is a topic that I think is highly important for everyone to be aware of! I'll be the first one to say that I love a good deal and I love convenience, but I am smart enough to know that it comes at a cost - not just to our economy but also to our privacy (I personally am not much of an Amazon shopper). The Warehouse follows two employees - both there for different reasons. Imagine an apocalyptic world where The Cloud is the only place to work..... and LIVE! You are monitored with a watch and rated daily and everything you should ever need is all right there. In the spirit of Cyber Monday, I've seen Amazon pop up quite a bit in the news. There were protests outside Bezo's home regarding treatment of employees. This article in the New York Times is a long read, but worth it (it sites many things in The Warehouse that are already happening!!!). Here's an article about the security risks of a Smart TV. I am continually amazed at how much people are willing to give up their privacy without even thinking about it - scary stuff!
 
Qualityland by: Marc-Uwe Kling
Since I was in the mood to read another book on the topic, I picked up Qualityland (will release on January 7, 2020). This book follows the same theme as The Warehouse, but it's more comical and similar to movies like "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy", "Wall-E", or "Idoicracy".  A little less impactful than The Warehouse, but still a good read on the topic!
 
American Dirt by: Jeanine Cummins
Thank you to Flatiron Books for this advance reader copy (releases January 21, 2020). Wow. Wow, wow, wow, wow is what I have to say about this book. One of the best reads this year and very eye opening!
Lydia Quixano PĂ©rez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable. Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy―two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same. Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia―trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?
 
Sometimes I Lie by: Alice Feeney
I was in the mood for a thriller, but this one was just okay to me. It was a bit confusing at times, but the ending left off to where the author could write about these characters again. I also admit that what I read after something that really affects me just falls a bit flat anyway.
My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:
1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.
Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from twenty years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it's the truth?